One to Watch Wednesday

Following last week’s community recommendation, I’ve been on the hunt again for hot reads to keep your eyes on. This week I’ve been reading Filthy Luca by Paul Beattie. I was initially drawn to this book, despite not necessarily being my genre of choice, by its cover icon, and interesting title, and then hooked in by its opening paragraph.

What stands out about this “thriller” is the character-focussed narrative – our protagonist, Luca, seems likeable and innocent, reminiscing about family excursions to the pictures, and characters from Disney films. Yet we know from the blurb and the cracking final paragraph of the prologue, that Luca has witnessed something – something terrible – and done nothing; as a reader, my interest was piqued.

I’m also intrigued by the narrative voice, which is knowing, but lightly juvenile in tone. I suspect the narrator might play a crucial role in the story as it progresses, so it will be interesting to see how that develops.

Filthy Luca has just broken the top 30. I’m hoping with a bit more attention, to see it on the desk soon.

Here’s Paul’s pitch:

A boy, a Nazi and a dead body in the dining room. 
This is what you need to know. His name is Luca. That’s Luca. Not Lucas or Louis or Luke. Luca. It’s Italian, means the bringer of light, or something like that. Luca lives with his mother and grandmother and seven-year-old sister in a matchbox semi on a newbuild housing estate miles from anywhere. His father is dead, his brother at uni, his grandfather lying lengthways on a table in the dining room, snug as a bug within the silken folds of his top-of-the-range coffin. Luca’s mother turned the radiator off in there so he should be all right for another day or so. The funeral’s on Monday. They say it’s going to rain.

There’s one last thing you need to know and it’s this: Luca was there when it happened. He saw what his grandfather did, saw it all. He did nothing to help, didn’t shout or scream or phone the police. He didn’t punch or kick or snag his grandfather’s hair. He just stood and watched, let his grandfather do those things to her, hurt her like that. And, after his grandfather was done, Luca simply took the money and walked away.

1 comment:

  1. Reading this at the moment and it really is first class. Deserves to make the editor's desk. I'm practically green with

    K J Anderson.


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